Tuesday, October 11, 2011


October 11, 2011

The post title today is more of a request than an admonition.  Have you ever thought about this?

Both Davis and Erin went through phases where I couldn't pry them from the bathtub.  The water would lose its heat and eventually become downright chilly, but they would just slosh around and delay getting out (too many cool bath toys, I think).  I always wondered why their hands and feet would look like this, but not the rest of their bodies.  I understand that this only happens to humans and macaques.  

I've read explanations of this shriveling:  the keratin on our skin wears off of our hands and feet so they absorb more water; it's a sign of dehydration; water is a hypotonic solution and is trying to enter our skins to reach equilibrium.

Here is a more satisfying solution that fits the theory I had.  Our wrinkled fingers and foot soles are creating treads to ensure greater traction in slippery situations, just like car tires

Here's a second thing to consider:

Do you use  I don't.  But maybe I should.  Most of you know that given the choice, I would pick a non-chain restaurant over a chain restaurant.  As a business school professor, I also understand that chain restaurants often have a boatload of competitive advantages over non-chains in terms of long-term survival. can actually help level things out in some surprising ways.  Not only do good reviews help independent restaurants (call me Captain Obvious), but the effect is much greater for individual non-chain restaurants than an individual outlet of chain establishments.  In addition, the existence of yelp dilutes the market share of chain restaurants, because consumer reviews substitute for the reputation that chains. 

Finally, I have something for you that is not science, or even scholarship.  It's opinion.  It's opinion, I want you to think about.  I read this on a blog written by someone I don't know and have never met:

 "But the only thing that makes me more bearish is the way that America denigrates intelligence and studying.  It's taken for granted that in America, there is mutual exclusion between being well-liked growing up and having very academic hobbies.  The captain of the chess team is assumed to have trouble getting dates.  If you are in high school and win lots of math competitions, people assume you're below average in admiration by peers.

In China, getting good grades makes you MORE popular.  The valedictorian is usually very popular.  And respected.  It automatically gets you points.  In America, it automatically drags you down in the eyes of your peers.
I think this is the single biggest factor that could lead to America's decline.  Everyone wants to be loved and respected by their peers.  Making that at odds with pursuing intellectual activities is very damaging to maintaining the status as the land of innovation." 
These words made me pause and think.  I'm not sure I agree.  I didn't ever felt cast aside by my peers in school for taking academics seriously, and I'm pretty sure Erin and Davis didn't either.  
BUT, I do have a growing sense that my particular skills set that mainly involves using my brain, is less valued and less appreciated today than over the course of my whole life and that my particular profession has less credibility than it has my whole career. 
All I can say is: think for yourself.


  1. Hmmm...I am on round two of raising an academically gifted son that doesn't appreciate his smarts,for this very reason, I fear. He would love to be the star athlete, and works very hard at that, but views his advanced classes as "extra work, punishment. None of his friends have to do it." And honestly, in our rural community I am shocked at the small number of students that are included in the advanced programs. I think standardized testing placed my boys there, and it is a constant source of frustration to me that I can't seem to get them to embrace this! I am super excited about my daughter who is in second grade,(and has not been labelled anything as yet); she thinks it is the coolest thing ever to be the smartest in her class. She is just "on it" all the time, and I have a hopeful feeling this will be her continuum. I am proud of all my kids, my oldest has been "eating what he kills" for quite sometime now, but when I run into his classmates or their parents and they ask "What's Jake doing now, Rocket Science?"...I feel a stab.

    ~Shea VB

    P.S. Aside from falling in love with Erin, I think this is another reason I follow have done such an amazing job with your children, teaching them to be all that they can be. It is a wonderful thing.

  2. The valedictorians around here (New England) are usualy very popular. Many are scholar athletes, members of the National Honor Society, math team, French Team, Etc... I don't agree with that statement. Perhaps in some areas this is true, but I'm not finding it here.

    I do believe teachers are getting less respect than they deserve. THAT, I think.. is a growing trend.

  3. I very often see this... kids of different cultures are often picked on if they get good grades or act right in class. They often don't like/appreciate praise regarding work, in fact, I have taught several children that would turn in their homework in secret so their friends didn't know they did it. ONe child, whom I moved into a pre-ap class, needed me to "yell at him" every day before class so his "friends' would think he was in trouble - it took away from the nerdiness of pre-ap... Its disheartening. At my high school & middle school, teh most popular kids were the smartest for the most part - like Karen said, great athletes and academic leaders. Its hard to see as a teacher ;( BUT we can fix it! NO WORRIES!

  4. Hm. I think that statement depends on the crowd you hang out with, as well as the area you live in, school you go to, etc. And I don't think it would even be apparent until middle school or so... in elementary school we didn't care what each other's grades were. In elementary school I hardly knew what my own were!
    My community in general is not that supportive of kids and academics and higher education (the high school's grade average was 53% overall when I went there). The high school of 2000+ students orders only 30 PSAT tests per year and gives them on a first-come first-serve basis. But anyway, my point is that the "nerds" or smartest kids who don't party, drink and act crazy, are not usually the most admired and popular because that's not what's promoted by the general community. I got made fun of because I always behaved in class and got 100% grades and did all my work instead of chatting with my friends.
    I do see it going the other way too though. Kids with good grades are popular in a lot of other places, or popular in the right crowd. It's just that in my own experience, I live in a very low-achieving community overall and I'm looked at like a freak because I had a GPA of 4.0 and was in AP classes. People like people who are like them.

  5. The skin of human is very sensitive towards the water. We should avoid to stay more in the water.